• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Missile Defense Is What Really Matters

    Editorializing on the Obama administration’s nuclear arms control strategy with Russia, The Washington Post wrote this Sunday:

    This is an issue that really matters: The continued development and deployment of missile defenses arguably means more to U.S. security than a new nuclear weapons deal with Russia.

    Indeed, the development and deployment of missile defenses by the U.S. for the protection of itself and its friends and allies around the world is an essential component of a security policy that is adapted to the circumstances of today’s world. This is because missile technology is spreading, including to countries openly hostile to the U.S. and its friends and allies, including Iran and North Korea. An incremental reduction in U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear arms will at best make only a modest contribution to the adaptation process.

    Basically, the U.S. has three alternatives as it scans today’s global strategic landscape. It can go directly for nuclear disarmament, taking unilateral steps to show the way. Even President Obama, who has made nuclear disarmament a cornerstone of his foreign policy, appears reluctant to take this direct route. The second alternative is to multilateralize the U.S.-Soviet relationship of vulnerability to nuclear attack. This poses the problem of trying to find the proper balance of nuclear terror in a multilateral setting. This option could be extraordinarily destabilizing and rise the likelihood of the use of nuclear weapons, most likely by miscalculation. By definition, it will spell the end of the goal of nuclear disarmament. The third option, and the one The Washington Post editors may now be drawn to, is to pursue more fundamentally defensive strategic postures for the U.S. and other nations. This is the best option for keeping the world as far from the nuclear precipice as possible until it is clear that a world without nuclear weapons can be achieved. This approach will permit the U.S. both to defend itself and bolster the security relationships it has with its friends and allies.

    There is an irony that accompanies the pursuit of a policy that favors missile defense. While the Russians may not appreciate it at this point, it represents the best way to put the U.S.-Russian bilateral relationship on a truly solid footing. The Russians appear to believe that the best way to improve their relationship with the U.S. is to threaten the U.S. with the nuclear weapons in its arsenal. It is a position that resembles in all essential aspects the strategic relationship of confrontation between the U.S. and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Why the Russian government wants to recreate for itself the confrontation that ultimately proved to be the undoing of the Soviet Union is, to put it mildly, puzzling. Thus, a U.S. strategic policy that pursues missile defenses may reflect a better understanding of Russia’s strategic interests than the Russian government itself appreciates.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to Missile Defense Is What Really Matters

    1. Greg R. Lawson says:

      I would argree that spreading missile defense technology is appropriate. Proliferation is here to stay.

      We should consider expanding our deterrence posture at the same time we embrace more development and deployment of defense systems.

      I other words, we should consider be more aggressive from botht the offensive and defensive point of view.

    2. Pingback: Wonk Room » The Right’s Naive Missile Defense Fantasy

    3. Pingback: Will The New START Undermine Our Nuclear Security? « A Nation ADrift-Why?

    4. J Hyatt, Richmond, V says:

      I think missile defense is much more complicated than the strategic missile posturing which the Russians seem to have carried over from the Cold War. Reagan's Star Wars ideas for missle defense was one threatening concept that probably caused the USSR to close their doors. They cannot fathom the defense proposition therefore they without much effort coerced Obama to abandon our in progress missle defense systems for Europe which Obama being anxious to be the great master of world peace in our time appeased the Russians and sold out our allies in Europe for the sake of being a global hero. All part of the Jihadist plan to take over the world with Obama enthroned as the suprme being in the UN.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.